“In its best moments, “Districtland” hilariously taps into the kinds of D.C. experiences that only a Washingtonian will understand: Frank furiously and unsuccessfully tapping and retapping his SmarTrip card, Charity proclaiming “I curse the day they put Internet on phones,” Dave’s aggressively schmoozy girlfriend constantly asking, “So, what do you do?” These are the moments that will have audience members with tears in their eyes — either because they’re laughing so hard, or because it’s all a bit too real.”
Following the incredible opening of the play and subsequent positive reviews, I asked playwright Cristina Bejan to reflect on what it all means to her:
“Being reviewed by the Washington Post is a milestone for me as an artist. Up until now, my creative work has mainly been covered in Romania (interviews on Romanian national TV, radio, and the national newspaper Evenimentul Zilei). Romanian by heritage, I was born in the USA and grew up going to the Kennedy Center. And very recently I decided to make Washington DC my artistic homebase.
“When I first moved to DC from Bucharest in 2009, I absolutely hated it. The "What do you do?" chorus and DC-CV building treadmill stressed me out. I missed sitting in Romanian cafes and collaborating on plays with movie stars and university students. DISTRICTLAND came out of that utter bewilderment and love. The play is an attempt to interpret a reality that at first seemed utterly bizarre.
“But Ionesco thought that a foreign language (English) lesson was bizarre - so he wrote a play about it. Caragiale sat in Bucharest cafes such as Caru cu Bere and wrote down what he heard, producing some of the most entertaining local comedy in Europe. Theatre of the Absurd is a genre familiar to the Romanian playwright and I am honored to bring that tradition to the Capital Fringe Festival.
“I can honestly say that our production of DISTRICTLAND has made me happy. Collaborating with such brilliant and daring theatre artists has made me fall hard in love with the District. Performing to sold-out houses and being reviewed by one of the most distinguished newspapers in the world is proof that dreams do come true. I never thought I'd say this but I am proud and honored to be a Washingtonian.”
Remember to buy tickets to DISTRICTLAND before they sell out!